COVID-19 cases start to decline in El Paso County, still too high to open dining rooms at restaurants

COVID-19 in Colorado
COVID-19 in Colorado(AP)
Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:29 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - El Paso County Public Health shared a positive update on Friday as cases of COVID-19 are slightly declining, according to the latest data.

“During the past seven days, we have seen our county’s incidence, test positivity and hospitalizations trending in a declining pattern,” said Fadi Youkhana, epidemiologist for El Paso County Public Health Data and Analytics Office. “Our incidence dipped below 1,000 per 100,000 for the first time since mid-November, which is encouraging.”

Despite the good news, the department shared a sobering reminder. As of Friday, El Paso County is still averaging more than twice the amount of daily cases needed to qualify for “Level Orange” under the state’s COVID-19 dial framework. El Paso County is currently categorized as “Level Red.” Under Level Orange, restaurants would be able to open their dining rooms even without a new 5-Star program expected to take place in several Colorado counties. Under the 5-Star program, select restaurants in counties that are approved for the program would be allowed to open dining rooms with a limited capacity.

The following is COVID-19 data for El Paso County as of Dec. 17:

· 14-Day Incidence: 976.1 (down from 1069.5 the previous day)

· Average daily cases in the last seven days: 420 (down from 439 the previous day)

· 14-Day Positivity: 12.49 percent (down from 13.01 percent the previous day)

· Hospital admissions in the last seven days (Dec. 11 – Dec. 17): 82 (down from 160 during previous seven days, Dec. 4 – Dec. 10)

“While we are cautiously optimistic about these trends, we also want to emphasize that we are still experiencing high levels of transmission in our community,” said Kimberly Pattison, communicable disease program manager for El Paso County Public Health. “Maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting gatherings to household members—including during the holiday season—is still critical for keeping our trends moving downward and protecting our loved ones and our community.”

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